Formula Basics for Healthy Babies
If you choose not to breast feed or to stop breast feeding before one year, meet your baby’s nutritional needs with iron-fortified formula. With breast or bottle, babies do best when feeding times are filled with cuddling and love. Sit in a quiet, comfortable place and relax. Hold your baby in a semi-upright position and talk softly while feeding.
Every baby has a different feeding rhythm and it takes some babies a while to settle into a regular routine. Offer your baby a bottle every two to three hours or when he or she seems hungry. Allow your baby to decide when to stop eating. Towards the end of a feeding, your baby may fall into a light sleep or naturally turn away from the bottle. Never try to force a baby to finish a bottle.
Gently burp your baby midway and at the end of feeding. Burping removes uncomfortable air from your baby’s tummy; you can burp your baby over your shoulder or knee. Spitting up small amounts of formula is normal during feeding or burping.
Choosing the Right Formula
There are different types and forms of infant formula; your baby’s doctor or clinic can help you choose the right one. The most common formulas are made from specially treated cow’s milk and fortified with iron. Regular cow’s milk should never be given to children younger than 1 year. Babies cannot digest milk protein properly and it doesn’t contain the right amounts of iron or vitamin C for growing infants.
Your health-care provider may recommend a soy formula or other specialized formulas such as those for premature babies. Discuss any feeding changes with your doctor or a registered dietitian. Formulas come in ready-to-use, concentrate and powder forms. Powder is the least expensive. Read the label and follow all mixing instructions carefully.
Baby Bottle Safety
Keep babies safe while bottle feeding. Here are the best ways to keep your baby from getting sick, reduce the risk of injuries and promote good dental health:
- Keep Formula Clean. Wash your hands before mixing formula or feeding. Clean bottles in the dishwasher or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use refrigerated formula within 48 hours of mixing and discard anything left in the bottle after a feeding.
- Warm Formula Carefully. Never heat bottles in the microwave or on top of the stove. Warm bottles under running water or in a pan of hot water. Test the temperature of the formula by shaking a few drops onto your inner arm and use immediately.
- Use Only Formula in Bottles. Never put anything in a baby’s bottle except formula or pumped breast milk: no honey, no cereal, no other food and no sweetened drinks like soda or powered drinks. By the time your child is ready to drink juice at about nine months, or cow’s milk after one year, he or she is also ready to use a cup.